I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships recently. I talk so much about personal development habits, but what about relationships? What about that really strange thing that happens when two people decide to fall in love and be together? What happens to your relationship development? Maybe there are some good habits we could implement there too?
It’s important to enter a relationship the right way, and start doing things the right way. It makes it harder to mess up in the future 😉
By building strong habits early on in the relationship, you can develop some kick-ass skills for any hardships the future may have in store for you.
And what if you are eye-deep in a relationship right now, and haven’t really developed some of the habits at the beginning that you would have like? Well it’s never too late to make a change.
As I have always said, your relationship is a mirror of your own self and what you deserve. So make some changes in yourself, and notice your relationship change as well.
These are just some of the things that are very important to me in a relationship.
Maybe you’ll agree with some of them. Maybe you won’t. This is just my truth.
Take what you want and leave the rest behind 🙂
Get in the habit of not talking shit about your honeybuns to other people.
I believe that every time you talk about your relationship or your partner in a negative way to another person, you take away energy from your relationship and scatter it all over the place. You consciously take the energy that could be used to be creative and help build a SOLID FOUNDATION ( 😉 )for your relationship, and instead putting it into destructive channels.
Not only are you not making efficient use of your creative love energy, but you’re also disrespecting your partner – a person who you are consciously choosing to spend your time with. If you have some kind of constructive criticism for your girl/boy, the best person to share it with is them! After all, they are the only ones who even have a shot of doing something about it. Not your best friend, not their best friend, not their sister, not even your mom.
Everytime you talk about your relationship in a negative way to another person, you distance yourself from your relationship. And its even worse when you know the person you are talking to is going to take your side.
So build a bridge. And step in closer.
SO, what CAN you do? Does this mean you can’t talk about your relationship at all? Of course not! Talk away 🙂 Especially if you’re a girl, that’s just what we do! But talk about the great things. The wonderful things they do. The warm fuzzy feelings they give you. The kind thoughtful gestures they do for you. They “I-could-puke-this-is-so-cute” things they say. Their jokes that make you laugh so much that it physically hurts.
And what if you guys have problems? Well firstly, welcome to being in a relationship with a human being. And of course it’s natural to want to talk about a problem with your best friend, trying to get a different perspective of what’s going on, but go into the conversation with an open mind and an open heart, and remember that a discussion about things that have happened is very different to putting your partner down.
Get into the habit of not complaining about your partner, bitching about them, putting them down, and openly discussing every skeleton in their closet. Keep some of that relationship energy where it belongs. In your relationship.
Wow, I SURE had A LOT to say about that!
Get in the habit of resolving arguments and issues quickly.
Don’t let unresolved issues or arguments linger. They don’t taste better in the morning. And resentment builds up quickly in a relationship, and you might not even notice it until it is too late. So be prompt and efficient when it comes to dealing with arguments, instead of emotional and lofty. Sur,e taking some time to think about your latest hot tempered fight may give you a better perspective, but the first step of resolving that knot in your stomach, that anger in your throat, and that sadness in your heart – is primary. Solve things quickly, and as they come. Don’t bother saving them for a rainy day, because by the time you get there, the rainy days may be plenty, and you both of you not feel like putting on your wellies and really putting in the effort.
So if you’ve just had a bad argument about a lingering or a new issues, take some time to calm down. But when you’re ready, get back in there and make everything OK again.
This is a great habit to start off early in a relationship when the disagreements may be trivial, silly, and sometimes even cute. Because if you can set good habits during the easy times, they will certainly kick in if the hard times roll in too.
Get in the habit of being helpful when you can.
When you first enter a relationship, the urge to be your most helpful self is natural. You want to help them. You want to make life easier for them. Why? Because they are just soooo awesome and soooo dreamy and handsome. But after some time, maybe we stop doing these things, and then maybe we even start making excuses about not doing them too. Maybe they are not appreciative enough. Maybe they don’t give you a chance to be helpful. Maybe maybe maybe. Or, maybe you just didn’t get in the habit of being helpful whenever you can. Even our most wonderful virtues are a product of our habits. Being helpful is another one of them.
Get in the habit of always asking yourself what you could do to make your lover’s life a little bit easier and a little bit lovelier and more wonderful for them. And do these things, just because you can. What could be a better reason than that?
Get in the habit of listening.
Get in the habit of really caring about what your hotlips has to say. Get in the habit of actually listening to what they are saying – not just their words, but what they mean. The message behind the words (Sometimes these things are very different). Create an environment that your partner feels safe and secure to talk without censure or judgement. And I mean talk about anything – from things like an interesting article they read in Men’s Health to how they feel about the direction that their life is taking.
Get into the habit of listening early on in the relationship so that you can always remember that what your partner has to say is important and has value. Everybody wants to feel heard. Not just in a relationship, but in life in general. This is a natural and primal need we have, and something we should be looking to nourish in our partner.
Get in the habit of communicating clearly about your feelings.
No matter how much he rocks your world, it’s unlikely he is a mind reader. In fact half the assumptions you make in your mind, he probably isn’t even aware of them. This is why it’s important to really SPELL THINGS OUT. Even when it feels redundant. Even when you think it’s “obvious”. ESPECIALLY when you think it’s obvious. It usually isn’t 😛
Instead of being the inconsolable and sad/mad/disappointed/unsatisfied girlfriend or boyfriend, trying being the girlfriend of boyfriend who says statements like “I feel sad that you _____ because it made me feel _______”. Sure, it sounds strange, but it will probably be much more helpful than being the sad person who no one knows how to fix.
Men and women communicate in totally different ways, and what is obvious to you may not be obvious to your partner at all. So communicate clearly about your feelings. If you’re sad, tell them why you are sad. And if you don’t know yourself, take the time to figure it out before expecting them to magically fix it.
Get in the habit of noticing the anger or reaction rise in your stomach. Notice how it feels when you feel like you WANT to say something to hurt them. Notice that feeling and let it go. Don’t waste your energy.
Notice your reactions. The good and the bad. And remember that you always have a choice. You always have a choice about which emotion you want to act from. Do you want to act from love or from fear? Do you want to act from anger or from calmness? Do you want to act from honesty or from dishonesty? We always have a choice.
And if you feel like you may not be able to say anything that would be from a place of love, then you STILL have a choice. You have a choice to walk away and to try again later. You have a choice to have constructive arguments rather than emotional destructive ones. You have a choice to explain yourself clearly. You always have a choice. You could make this very easy, or you could make this very hard. You could make this simple, or you could make it a game. It’s up to you.
Get in the habit of being honest all the time.
From chapter 1, page 1, day one in your relationship, set a standard of honesty. This means no white lies, or innocent lies. There is no excuse for lying. At least not for me.
See how your partner feels about honesty – you may have different beliefs about it.
My mom said that when she was young (back in the day hehe!!) she had to do an activity in school where they had to choose a quality that was the most important thing to them. It was a group activity and there were several categories out there like “love”, “honesty”, “family” etc.
Anyway to cut a long story short, my mom was one of the few in the “honesty” group. And everybody else was chillin’ with the “love”.
I just thought it was interesting.
And that my mom is a rockstar.
If you make it acceptable early on in the relationship to lie about simple things, things you may not really have to even lie about, but do anyway (and maybe get away with it too), you are making dishonesty acceptable – in small forms and large forms.
And that isn’t good enough for you.
Make lying about little things difficult to do by creating this habit early on in the relationship, and you will force yourself to create a habit of complete honesty to not just your partner, but also to yourself.
Get in the habit of finding common interests and shared goals.
SOMEBODY once told me that people are attracted to eachother for three reasons: common interests, common enemies, or sex. I think they probably read it in some Men’s Health article somewhere 😉
Lets talk about common interests. I imagine that you probably have some, if not many common interests with your sweetiepie, then you probably have some shared goals. Places you want to go together. Experiences you want to experience together. Things you love to do together. Things you believe in together. Similar beliefs about the world you live in. Similar expectations about yourself.
These are important connections to have with your partner, and they should be nurtured from day one!
So find things that your partner cares about, and see if it feels natural for you to care about them too. And nurture it. And find goals that you can work on together, projects you can do together, constructive time you can spend together- using your creative energy to build castles rather than to destroy the roads that gotten you to where you are today.
Get in the habit of giving eachother space.
Understand the need for personal space in a relationship – and that when your partner needs space, it doesn’t mean that you need to take it personally. Maybe that’s one of our biggest problems with being human and having an ego. We take everything personally! I know I’m guilty of it.
More than I should be.
Get in the habit of giving your partner to be who they need to be whenever they want. Give them space to think. To dream. To grow. To make mistakes. To calm down. To relax. To be with themselves.
And get in the habit of not taking it personally!
Get in the habit of sharing your gratitude and appreciation.
Maybe after some time in a relationship your partner develops supernatural mind reading powers and no longer needs you to show you are grateful or appreciative in ANYWAY, because they KNOW you feel it deep deep down.
Maybe. But I highly doubt it.
What is more likely that maybe after some time in a relationship, we start getting a bit lazy, or maybe a bit demanding, and start expecting them to do certain nice things for us. Because that’s their job.
It’s not their job. And gratitude is always necessary. And appreciation.
From the little things to the big things. To the things you probably take for granted.
So start this habit early on, and notice everything, and show gratitude for everything. Say thank you. Give them a kiss and a cuddle.
Never be too busy to show your partner how wonderful it is to have them in your life 🙂
Long post. Whew! I’m a trooper!